Sunday, May 24, 2009

Swan Lake

Today's sunrise over a foggy pond

Sunday started off with a nice 13 1/2 mile run. It was a gorgeous morning with temperatures starting out in the mid 40's and approaching near 60 by the time I finished. This has been just a glorious weekend weather wise; comfortable temperatures, plenty of sun, and zero humidity. These are the kind of days that make suffering through the winter worthwhile! :)

I trucked all the way over to Fish Lake Park and took a lap around the peninsula. The trails were very quiet this early on a Sunday. I hadn't run in this area in more than three weeks, and it was remarkable to see how the scenery had changed. The canopy of leaves over the trails is impressive. Things are looking mighty pretty up here in the Twin Cities right now.

A calm day on Fish Lake

Yours truly, with yet another clumsy self portrait from this morning's run

And the run felt great. It has been two weeks since Fargo, and it was nice to be able to pick up where I left off with some nice, long-ish weekend runs, especially on days like this.

The rest of my day was dedicated to hiking and birding. Following my run, I spent a few hours up at the Elm Creek Park Reserve. I saw all kinds of good stuff; great-crested flycatchers, red-eyed vireos, yellow warblers, eastern kingbirds (including a nesting pair, gray catbirds, and I even rustled up a ring-necked pheasant. Some new sightings for me this season included the house wren, American redstart (they were everywhere!), and the cutest little masked bandit, the common yellowthroat.

The most exciting moment happened when I was standing on the trail near a small bay of a lake. I had observed two swans clear over on the other side of the lake, and I was lamenting to myself that it was a shame they were so far away. I was watching a common yellowthroat flitting about in the reeds and thickets, so I was content with watching him for as long as he would let me (this was a treat in and of itself; I haven't had much of an opportunity to see the yellowthroat).

I soent about a half an hour in this one spot. Occasionally I would glance out on to the lake, and I noticed the swans were swimming my way. In fact, they were coming right for me! As if on cue, the swam directly into the cove where I was standing. I was able to take some semi-decent pictures.

Trumpeter swans from today's hike. See the shore in the background? They came all the way across the lake from over there!

A closeup shot of one of the trumpeters

These were indeed trumpeter swans. They even treated me to a couple of brassy sounding honks, which were alarmingly loud. Gorgeous birds! They drifted around the bay, and eventually back out into the lake. Not sure if they came over just to see me? Perhaps they identified me as a bird watcher and decided to give me a show? :) In any case, that was the highlight of my day.

So, a 13 1/2 mile run, a 3 hour bird hike, and another 1 hour walk over into my local park to check on my sedge wrens (They are hanging around! I saw them on my run this morning and on my walk again this afternoon. Fascinating little birds, but I can talk about them another time!). I think I got my exercise today! :)

Until next time,

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